Wireless headphones are must-have for anyone who likes music, who likes audio, who likes being unfettered from pesky, annoying wires. And that’s pretty much all of us. But there are so many options that it can be tricky to know which pairs are worth the money.
We looked at what’s on the market, everything from over-ear, noise-canceling monsters to svelte true wireless earbuds. Our picks have sterling reviews from real users and prices that range from the inexpensive to the decadent. Many offer extra features like active noise cancelling, useful accessories, and highly tweakable settings. The thing they all have in common? They pump out great audio.
It's not hyperbole to say that Bose is one of the most trusted brands in audio tech. And this headphones only prove that point.
Pros: These Bose wireless headphones offer you three levels of noise cancellation, based on your needs. They’re Alexa-enabled so you can listen to music. And they pair easily with Bluetooth.
Cons: They’re bulky, so if you’re going for subtle, look elsewhere.
True wireless earbuds are so called because they wirelessly connect to each other and your device. AirPods are by far the most well-known product in the category, and they are amazingly easy to use if you'll primarily be connected to an iOS device.
Pros: AirPods connect automatically to Apple devices, including simultaneously to iPhone and Apple Watch. They come with fancy features like accelerometers and optical sensors that let you use one or both at a time, automatically start playing music the moment they’re in your ear, and the new model gives you handsfree access to Siri.
Cons: If you’re not fully bought into the Apple ecosystem we’d recommend looking elsewhere. You can use these with Android devices, but it’s harder to justify the price with the more limited feature set you get on Android.
These simple on-ear headphones have an outstanding battery and a headphone out port that makes sharing music easy.
Pros: The 30+ hours of battery life are the best thing about these headphones, but they also offer a comfortable fit and collapsible design that makes them a solid, inexpensive pair of commuter headphones.
Cons: The single control knob is small and awkwardly placed, so it’s easy to accidentally turn up the volume when you’re trying to skip to the next song.
The venerable amplifier company brought its audio know-how and iconic style to the world of consumer electronics. This pair of wireless on-ear headphones sounds and looks great as a result.
Pros: A single control knob can be used to control all of the standard functions: power, play/pause, volume, and skip. The battery lasts a whopping 30+ hours, so you can go days between charges.
Cons: An included pouch or carrying case is an odd omission for headphones in this class, and the somewhat aggressive aesthetics aren’t for everyone, particularly when other headphones give you a choice of many.
These are a great pair of true wireless earbuds for Android users and Apple fans who nevertheless don't feel like springing for the AirPods.
Pros: The charging case has an integrated USB cable — no need to carry one separately — and enough battery to charge the headphones for an extra 10 hours of use (each earbud can hold 3-4 hours of charge at a time). They turn on and connect automatically once taken out of the case.
Cons: There’s not much holding these into your ears, so if they don’t fit perfectly you might walk around worried about them falling out. There’s also not much room for buttons on the outside, and pressing them can mean awkwardly jamming the bud into your ear canal.
Over-ear headphones offer the most immersive experience of any style, and the active noise canceling on this pair lets you shut out external noise and focus on the audio. They're less expensive than lots of comparable models, but they still have great customer reviews.
Pros: Two hours of charging time translates to 30 hours of listening time. The ear cups swivel and fold so you can carry around a smaller package in the included carrying case. Dual 40-mm drivers mean these have plenty of oomph.
Cons: Lots of reviews say that these headphones are nice for the price, but they don’t match the performance of premium over-ear headphones. Of course, they also are way cheaper, so if you’re not sure you’re ready to take the plunge on some more expensive cans it’s worth giving these a shot.
True wireless headphones are all the range, but corded options are still great. They're harder to lose, and you can easily let them hang around your neck if you need to interrupt the music. This pair from Bose is worthy of the premium price tag.
Pros: These earbuds fit snugly, with rubber attachments that hook onto your ear and keep them from falling out, which is great because they’re also sweat and weather resistant. A round case with a carribiner clip means it’s easy to tote these around hooked on your backpack or gym bag.
Cons: There are cheaper options out there, and some users have complained that they don’t really last six hours on a single charge.
If you want all of the bells and whistles, these are the headphones for you. They're definitely on the pricier side, but active noise canceling, fantastic battery life and touch controls mean these headphones are worth the investment.
Pros: The battery lasts up to 30 hours on a single charge, and if you do find yourself dead it takes just 10 minutes of charging to get five hours of playtime. Swipe-based controls are easier to use and more attractive than buttons. Quick attention mode is also very cool: simply cover the right ear to lower the volume and turn off noise canceling automatically. And speaking of noise canceling, these headphones have some of the best tech on the market.
Cons: The over-ear profile and high price of these headphones mean they’re not for working out it or using casually. USB-C charging is the future, but it does render all of your current cords obsolete.
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